Style Panel: 6 unique ways to refresh your denim including DIY tips and more!

From Isabel Marant’s head-to-toe tie-dyed jean looks for spring to the many (many) new metallic/reptilian/digi-printed/frayed/studded finishes hitting the racks at a record-breaking pace, it seems that denim 2.0 is having a moment (Check out guide here). And since there are so many ways to skin this trend, we reached out to our ever-savvy ladies of Style Panel for some tips on how they like to style and punch up their own denim wears.

Question 10: What is your favourite way to embrace denim’s latest style iterations? Read the answers now! »


Alyssa Lau, 20
Edmonton | The Ordinary Peoples

I’ve already sported this denim jacket before in a Style Panel question, but recently, I’ve decided to embellish it with pointed studs that can be used as a weapon and/or defence mechanism anytime I please. Studs are a great way to grunge-ify an outfit, but really, I think they can be used with anything. Plus, your levels of “bad-assery” increase by 10 points. If you prefer a less menacing look, try pyramid-shaped studs or something less pokey.

Alyssa’s wearing: Studded denim jacket, thrifted and DIY’d. Romper, Free People. Creepers, Bag and sunglasses,

Vickie Laliotis, 28
Edmonton | Adventures in Fashion

I can’t get enough of leopard print jeans. They’re just so simple, yet they make a powerful statement that works well with my existing wardrobe. I love pairing them with simple silhouettes and solid colours, letting their awesomeness shine through. If you opt for patterned denim like this, don’t be afraid to incorporate a little print-mixing, like a subtle stripe or polka dot. Anything goes, so just have fun and experiment with as many denim finishes as you can afford to!

Vickie’s wearing: Top, Shoppalu. Leopard denim, Joe’s Jeans. Flats, Versace. Jewellery, Forever 21. Watch, Michael Kors.

Amy Nelson, 19
Calgary | Amy Flying a Kite

I spend so much time in stockings and skirts, it’s nice to wear jeans every once in awhile.  I buy all of my denim from thrift stores because I find that thrift stores offer a greater selection of sizes and styles. At the thrift store, you might find flared jeans from the ‘60s for less than $10!

Thrift store denim is also great for customizing and making alterations.  An easy and fun alteration is fading your jeans’ colour. You can use sandpaper as an alternative to bleach. Lay your jeans flat, and using rough grade sandpaper, rub the areas you’d like to see faded. It can take some time, but it’s always worked for me.

If you don’t feel like using tools and time for customizing, adding a small brooch on the pocket or rolling up your jeans works wonders!  In this outfit, my jeans have been faded and rolled up.

Photography by Katie Henderson

Chloe Wise, 21
Toronto | Naughty Mess

As a lover of both denim and patterns, turning to a printed jean short is second nature for me. I literally wear jean shorts every day (read: EVERY day), and finding a pair in a unique print such as these starry guys just feels right. I love a good DIY, and have been known to paint a few pairs of USA flag jean shorts in my day, so grabbing some fabric paint and creating patterned denim is definitely a good call. While one can get artsy and create a similar look, stumbling across the perfect pair of printed vintage shorts can only mean one thing: the stars have aligned. Oh, and a cosmically awesome outfit.

Niki Blasina, 26
Vancouver | A Haute Mess

My favourite way to embrace fun, new denim styles is with this feather print pair from Rag & Bone/JEAN. I love pairing these unconventional pants with a chambray or denim shirt, because it’s the perfect opportunity to rock a Canadian tuxedo without looking like Jay Leno in his garage, or a dad.

All of these embellished, treated, or printed denim styles can seem intimidating (truth time: it may be harder to find that perfect, flattering pair) but they’re actually a really easy way to amp up your style quotient. You can still do jeans and a tee, but the extra details on your pants automatically make the outfit more interesting.

Niki’s wearing: Jeans, Rag & Bone. Shirt, Icone. Vest, Club Monaco. Shoes, Stuart Weitzman. Necklace, Stella & Dot. Sunglasses, Super.

Alex Grant, 25
Toronto via Vancouver | To Vogue or Bust

My only non-boring pair of jeans suffered an untimely demise last year (R.I.P.) thanks to a particularly aggressive laundry machine, so these fuchsia skinnies are all that I have now in terms of punchy denim. Though from day-to-day I tend to pair them with neutrals to tone down their brightness, if I want to take them to the next level I love to colour block with an equally strong hue. I’ve been having a bit of a love affair with blue and pink pairings lately, so a royal blue belt and top were a natural choice to give my pink pants a new lease on life.

Alex’s wearing: Top, Zara. Pants, Gap. Wedges and belt, H&M. Bag, Rebecca Minkoff. Necklace, Blackbird.